Petty Uncool

I think most of us grew up with parents who told us not to be sore losers. Especially if you had siblings, this was a big part of growing up—accepting that you’re not always going to win, and when you don’t you have to say “Good game,” and move on.

Right now teens and twentysomethings (I have recently joined the twentysomething club), are really into being “petty.” Maybe it’s one of those passing trends that will soon be over when the next buzzword comes around, but there’s a serious problem underlying this fad. I’ve heard a lot of people talking about refusing to do big things because they can’t do them a certain way. I’m thinking especially about politics and voting, but I don’t want to put an example in your mind if one hasn’t already popped up.

Beyond politics, though, it’s a life habit that people are falling into. If I can’t do this my way, I’m not doing it at all. That’s petty, and that’s not how life works. Maybe I’m reading too much into a fad, but I’m fairly certain I’m not.

Why is it a cool thing to be petty? answer: it’s not. It shouldn’t be. It’s immature. I’m not talking about you being pressured into doing something you don’t want to do. Refusal to do something for a valid reason is not petty. Petty is not going to your best friend’s wedding because she didn’t pick you as maid of honor. Petty is being a sore loser.

I’ve fallen into this trap recently. That’s what people in my generation seem to do—we latch onto a fad “ironically” but then it becomes a part of our lives, and we need to take back control. Remember when sarcasm was used occasionally and was actually funny? Now people name sarcastic as a character trait they possess. That’s not cool! I’m sorry, it’s not about being cool, but it’s about being a better human, and untethered sarcasm isn’t going to get you there.

Stop being petty.




What is a Safe Space?

Because I constantly face nagging from the side of my generation against the improvement of society, here I am talking about coddled college students again.

So much of society (or people on the internet) spend their days complaining about how college kids “need their safe spaces” these days. The theory is that we’re not going to make it in the real world because none of us know how to function without a “safe space,” and we’re too easily offended and so forth.

Wikipedia defines a safe space as:

“In educational institutions, safe-space (or safe space), safer-space, and positive space are terms used to indicate that a teacher, educational institution or student body does not tolerate anti-LGBT violence, harassment or hate speech, but rather is open and accepting, thereby creating a safe place for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and all students.”

This is a little outdated, at least in my own definition, because now I think a safe space—or at least the safe spaces I know—are broadened to support anti-racism, anti-sexism, etc. Either way, the point of a safe space is to designate a space that is free from hate.  But there’s more. A safe space supports discussion, debate, and disagreement. A homophobic person is allowed in the safe space, but they’re not allowed to spew hatred when they come in. They can ask questions and try to seek understanding, but they should not come in with a closed mind.

We know the world is not a safe space. We see it every day on the news. How stupid do you think we are to think that we assume everyone is trying to make us comfortable when we pay witness to not just offensive words, but murders happening in our world because of sexuality or race or gender or ability.

What is the point of a safe space? The point is to try. If one room starts as a safe space then turns a whole college into a safe space which turns a town into a safe space, couldn’t the world eventually be a safe space? I know that is wishful thinking. Look at our presidential candidates.

Someone at my school said, “There are no safe spaces, there are only safer spaces,” and that is true. But when people say “there are no safe spaces, we just have to deal with that,” they are promoting violence. I understand where they are coming from. It is difficult to imagine a world where everyone gets along. Equality is a really big word. But why would you be complacent? Why are you okay with the fact that black men and women are being murdered for the color of their skin? Why are you okay with police officers shooting unarmed people in wheelchairs? Why is it acceptable for women to on average make 21 less cents per hour than men?

A safe space is not a bubble. A safe space is an opportunity to learn without being attacked. A safe space is not a barrier we put up so we don’t have to listen to oppression. A safe space is a hope that one day no one will be seen as inferior for things they cannot change. A safe space is not an attack on the freedom of speech. A safe space is a counter-strike on violence.

Talking ‘Bout My Generation

In my post about The University of Missouri, I mentioned that I agree to some extent that my generation is overly sensitive or “too coddled,” as many are saying. I wrote then, and stand by my word, that this does not apply to what happened at Mizzou and what continues to happen with racial injustice across campuses and cities around the country. However, I do want to share my thoughts on when it does apply and why I think this is happening.

I guess my first point is the fine line between raging against a longstanding system and being too sensitive. The reason I don’t think Mizzou had to do with sensitivity is because racism has and continues to be a system on which our country operates. That is a fact. It’s not an opinion, it’s a fact. When students say, “Hey I’m not going to be a pawn in this system anymore,” they are choosing to stop complying with the mechanics of this system and trying to make a change. When a student says, “This is offensive I don’t want to hear it,” they are being too sensitive. I mean this especially in the case of education. Like if a student says, “I’m not reading Huckleberry Finn because it uses the N-word,” I would say that’s being overly sensitive. That is inhibiting their own education because certain things were more acceptable in that time period. Do you see the difference?

People now are just looking for someone to blame. A lot of fingers are pointing at me and my generation for just being too sensitive and overly coddled. This is funny because last I checked we didn’t raise ourselves. Not to say that parents are to blame either. But we have to look at the timeline of my generation.

We are the participation trophy generation. Since I started t-ball at age 5, I was showed that if I showed up, I would get a trophy. Our coaches (who were often our parents) told us that everyone was good enough no matter how much better or worse you did than the other kids. There was still a prize at the end of the season.

We are the “No Child Left Behind” generation. I had my first standardized test in 3rd grade. As a ten-year-old, I was responsible for determining the funding my school received. Maybe it wasn’t that extreme, but I’m pretty sure I’m not far off. From then on, I was a test score before I was a student.

We are the selfie generation. Yes. Social media has doomed us all. Myspace came out when I was 7. Facebook the year after. So by the time I was old enough to join, I could already have 100 people be my “friend” and pay attention to whatever I wanted to say. In a way, social media is a lot like a participation trophy. Anyone can join, and at least one other person will likely give you a thumbs up just for typing the words, “I farted.”

It’s no wonder we’re soo messed up. We are the first generation that has hardly lived in a time where we couldn’t send a message to millions of people in an instant. We have become dependent on that ability to gain attention without working towards acclamation.

This is not to say my generation is a generation of underachievers. I think we will end up being a generation of amazing overachievers, but we’re not quite there yet. We need to figure out how to use all this power for good. I think we’re starting to do that, every time we post something and say, “Why is no one talking about this?” Every time we use our smartphones to help our parents and grand parents, we’re using that power for good. Every time we post meaningful things online we’re using that power for good.

I think the misuse of that power is a big source of that oversensitivity. If we’re not being praised for insignificant action, we play the victim because it’s an easy way to gain that attention back. I think it’s stupid. I think it’s childish. And too often, it’s not just annoying to other people, it’s inhibiting our own growth. We use these catchphrases we learn online like “politically correct” and “triggering” to describe situations that have nothing to do with such adjectives, and suddenly we’re putting ourselves in a corner because the world is “too offensive.”

Look, friends, it’s easy for me to say it because I have always been tough-skinned (I’m the youngest of 4, I had to be), but grow up. If you feel attacked, don’t cry about it, do something about it. If you feel opposed, form an argument. If you feel like someone doesn’t understand you, try to understand them. We have all our priorities messed up, and this idealistic society we think we’re creating is not going to work. There’s always going to be a hater, but crying in the corner isn’t going to get rid of them.




Kylie Jenner’s Lips

Well, well, well. It looks as though the truth has finally reached the surface. Kylie Jenner came clean on last week’s episode of Keeping up with the Kardashians that she has temporary lip fillers. I for one, am not surprised. I am however, a little pissed off.

There are all kinds of opinions out there about how Kylie’s lips have influenced young girls to try dangerous stunts to look like her, how they perpetuate cultural appropriation or something, etc. And while those may be somewhat valid issues, they’re not the ones that bother me.

What bothers me first, is the fact that she lied about it for this long. We all knew. We saw the pictures. She claimed it was make-up. And for a while, apparently it was make-up, but then it wasn’t just make-up. Why didn’t she come clean then? Because of her insecurity.

Listen, I can understand an insecurity. We all have at least one. I get it. It’s also probably hard to have insecurities when you grow up in the spotlight and millions of people tell you you’re perfect every day. That’s the thing about insecurities, you still feel them even when everyone else disagrees with you. I get that. However, I cannot condone this message she is sending that says if you have money, you can fix your insecurities.

This girl is 18. She is barely legal. And she has already had work done. Fine, it’s not permanent and if she wanted to, she could stop the injections at any time and the effects would wear off. But she is paying hundreds of dollars to alter her face because she’s insecure. What kind of message does that send?

I’m not in favor of parents yelling at celebrities for being bad influences. I think it’s stupid, really. If you can’t raise your kid well enough for them to know the difference between celebrities and real people, then you have bigger problems. But that doesn’t stop kids from looking up to celebrities. And it’s a cool thing nowadays for celebrities to embrace their insecurities. They show them off or just talk about them because at the end of the day they’re human. What I cannot get down with is the fact that now Kylie Jenner is saying yes I have an insecurity, but I can afford to get rid of it. That’s just ridiculous.

Guess what kids? I know you may be insecure about your face or your body or your hair, but if you make millions of dollars a year, you don’t have to deal with it. I think I would have less of a problem if Kylie Jenner had earned any of her money on her own, but she was actually just born into the right family.

Consider this a rant about me being poor, or hating on celebrities, or whatever you want, but that’s my opinion. Shame on you, Kylie Jenner.



I Believe in Generation Y

I guess a cool thing for “the man” and the baby boomers to do these days is complain about how my generation (today’s teens and young adults) acts narcissistic and is completely absorbed by technology. Like there’s this one commercial for mobile banking or something and it shows a family going on vacation. Then the parents say something about not having cell reception on the island and the teenaged kids are devastated. They say things like “you mean we’ll actually have to talk to each other???” In the most dramatic voices.

This is offensive.
I will admit, we young whippersnappers spend too much time on our phones and it has affected the way we communicate with people around us and in the “real world.” However we have not become mindless zombies wh0 typ3 lykee th!$. I think in reality we’ve become the opposite.
Technology is a beautiful thing, and social media while it has its flaws, has taught us how to thrive in the modern world. Take Vine for example. It’s a platform where users post up to 6-second long videos for their friends and followers to view. At first it looked like Vine was for lazy people. People so lazy or attention-deficit that they could only watch 6-second videos. Now Vine has blown up into a whole new world of art. I’m not kidding. There are people making money off of Thai because they have learned ways to use their creativity to make 6-second masterpieces. And those people are my age. If you watch some of the crazy viral Vines you’ll see. It’s not something people do when they’re bored anymore. It’s something people are taking time to plan, write, and produce. If that’s not amazing, I don’t know what is.
And beyond that, looking at Twitter. Kids today use Twitter for all kinds of things like tweeting “Kim Kardashian is my mom” to “#BlackLivesMatter.” Whatever it is, they have to condense their input down to 140 characters. And people are posting political, social, opinions in clear and concise tweets that might be seen by 10-1 million people.
I am just always amazed at the way my generation takes good inventions and turns them into advancements. Beyond that, we are connecting across the globe. Yes, we interact way differently than our predecessors, but we share our thoughts and opinions with people we have never even met. The tumblr community for example is always proving the doubters wrong in my opinion. Our elders say our generation, the “selfie generation” is narcissistic. That may be true, but we care so much about each other and the worlds in which we live. Every time a social justice issue arises, the tumblr community explodes not only with opinions, but offering prayers and support to whomever needs it. If they hear about another tumblr user who committed suicide because they’re parents didn’t accept them, they make that kid a celebrity overnight. If they hear about issues not being covered enough by mass media, they tell everyone they know and people they don’t know about it. And this is the website that made “memes” a thing.
I get really happy when I see what people my age are doing for our world, and there’s not a lot I hate more than old people making fun of us because they don’t get it. When we inherit this world, or what’s left of it, I really think it might just be a better place.

Too Young to Know

There is nothing I hate more than listening to depressed teenagers. This country’s teens are caught up in this weird pandemic where they all think they’re depressed and their lives are over and they need to cut themselves because other people are cutting and it all just needs to stop.

I know that depression is a real diagnoseable problem, and I feel sad for the people that live with it. However, I’m not sure I can honestly believe it is diagnoseable in teenagers. Teens get depressed, we’re under a lot of pressure almost 100% of the time. But there are ways to deal with that other than shutting ourselves down which is what I think too many of us are doing.
I’ve been there. Trust me, my freshman year, I was the definition of angsty teenager. I didn’t think I had friends so I let that run me and now I can see clearly I wasted so much time feeling sorry for myself and I look back on that time and laugh at how ridiculous I was. The feelings were real. I don’t doubt that at all. But coincidentally at the time I was just starting to feel so awful, I was introduced to tumblr. Now I love tumblr, it’s a great website there’s a lot of good things about it, but that was not the side I found at first. I found people who felt just like me and were so angsty and depressed and the world was out to get them, and I bought right into it.
Tumblr didn’t make me a cutter, I made me a cutter. In retrospect, it didn’t make sense. At all. I hated the pain of it, I hated trying to hide scars, but I finally felt like I fit in with some group of people. People who were depressed. So that’s how I identified myself.
Long story short I quit cutting after maybe 3 months and 6 scars. I still can’t explain why I started but I knew why I quit. It was stupid. And now I look at people who do it way more than I did and it pisses me off. Stop it! Why are you doing that! I read something when I was cutting that said, “You hurt yourself on the outside to see the pain you feel on the inside.” That might be accurate, but it still doesn’t make sense. I understand cutting to kill yourself, when you cut vertically down your wrists. I obviously never did that, and if you’re a loyal reader you know how I feel about suicide, but that has a purpose to it. Recently it all made sense. When someone said to me you cut horizontally to  show and vertically to go. 
It’s all a big show. Teenagers today have always had the spotlight on us and the minute it stops shining, which it will for all of us, we freak out. My feelings about my generation are for a different post, but in have a point to this one. Teenagers do this freak out, and they let it ruin their lives, for too many of them end their lives. My freak out didn’t exactly ruin my life, but it sure felt like it. I hated myself, and I pray I never feel so bad again, but it was temporary. And I want every teen who feels like this to know it is temporary. There’s the cliché anti-suicide groups use that says, “don’t fix a temporary problem with a permanent solution.” I hate clichés, but this one is very meaningful. There’s so many teen suicides today because all these teens are letting their freak outs get the best of them. How could you end your life when your life has hardly begun? 
I can somewhat sympathize with adults who kill themselves. They’ve lived longer and had more failures and for them it’s not likely that things will change so much that their situations get 100% better. For teenagers, it actually can get better. It doesn’t for everyone I acknowledge that, but everything in your teen years is temporary. Problems with your parents? You’re moving out in 5 years or less! Hate your school? You’re leaving in 4 years or less! No friends? You can go somewhere else as soon as you turn 18! Just before you let a feeling of sadness or depression decide how you’re going to live. Think about yourself a year from now. Or two years. However long it’s going to take for something to definitely change. I can guarantee it won’t be long. So buck up, and stop being angsty teens.

Die Young

I am writing this tonight following the tragic death of actor Paul Walker of “Fast and the Furious” fame. I want to start by saying I have never seen any of those movies but may he rest in peace and his and the other passenger’s family and friends are in my prayers.

So whenever something like this happens- a famous person dies suddenly and the whole world seems to react. People tweet, Facebook, Instagram, whatever else just to express condolences and our own sadness. Then there’s always this other group of people who freak out because everyone “cares” when someone famous dies but no one thinks about the other million people that died that day- most of the time these people are talking about soldiers, but in general they’re pissed. Can I just say, calm down.
Let’s look at the facts. Apparently about 155,000 people die every day. Today, one of those people happened to be a famous actor. Is it fair that 1 person out of the 155,000 got thousands of tweets about him? No. But is that to say none of the other 149,999 people got their respects paid? No.
What I’m trying to get across is that when someone famous dies everyone reacts because they have a connection to him or at least they feel like they do. Of course most of the people reacting don’t know him on a personal level, but in a way he was a part of their lives. We don’t tweet about every single person who dies because we don’t know they’re dying and we have no connection to them. Yes it is very sad. But we can’t spend our days crying for the thousands of people that die everyday. If you’re related to all those people yes then by all means mourn, but since you don’t, be thankful and be respectful for those who are related to them.
Think about what you’re saying. No it’s not fair that te men and women dying for our country don’t get all this attention when they die, but would they want it? Being famous is kind of a choice. If you want the world to cry for your death you have to be someone everyone wants to pay attention to. But even if this still angers you, do not disrespect the loss of a famous person. They’re still people with the same loved ones as the soldiers. Does this make sense? Just realize what you’re saying, and please just let people rest in peace.